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Leslie S. Lebl 



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U.S. Army War College Press 


Leslie S. Lebl 

May 2014 

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Many observers viewed the military mission of the 
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) mission 
to Bosnia-Herzegovina (Bosnia), launched in late- 
1995, as a test of the international community's ability 
to keep the peace in the post-Cold War world. This 
task proved difficult: The many obstacles to restoring 
stability and growth in Bosnia have been thoroughly 
dissected over the years, from the challenges of tran- 
sition governments to the difficulties of interethnic 

One factor, however, has received but scant atten- 
tion: the role of Islamism, the political ideology based 
on a religion that motivates the Muslim Brother- 
hood, al-Qaeda, and many other radical groups. This 
monograph will examine the impact of Islamism on 
Bosnian security, tracing developments during the 9 
years of NATO peacekeeping, as well as the ensuing 
years. It will also examine the ties between so-called 
"nonviolent" and "violent" Islamism— ties that have 
already surfaced in other countries where NATO or 
the U.S. military is engaged. As a consequence, the 
monograph offers a framework to analyze the poten- 
tial constraints that Islamism can place on present-day 
and future military missions in Muslim countries. 


Strategic Studies Institute and 
U.S. Army War College Press 



LESLIE S. LEBL is a Fellow of the American Center 
for Democracy and a Principal of Lebl Associates. A 
former Foreign Service Officer, she now writes, lec- 
tures, and consults on political and security matters. 
During her Foreign Service career, Ms. Lebl served 
as Political Advisor to the Commander of Stabiliza- 
tion Forces (SFOR) in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the late- 
1990s, first in the American sector in Tuzla and then 
at SFOR headquarters in Sarajevo. Her most recent 
publications include articles in Orbis on the European 
Union, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Organiza- 
tion of Islamic Cooperation, and on radical Islam in 
Europe. A monograph, Advancing U.S. Interests with 
the European Union, was published by the Atlantic 
Council of the United States. Other publications in- 
clude analyses of European defense policy for the Cato 
Institute and of U.S.-EU cooperation in combating ter- 
rorism for Policy Review. Ms. Lebl holds a B.A. in his- 
tory from Swarthmore College and an M.A. in foreign 
affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced 
International Studies. 



Bosnia-Herzegovina, once thought to be on the 
way to joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organiza- 
tion (NATO) and the European Union (EU), is instead 
falling behind, mired in political bickering, economic 
stalemate, and governmental dysfunction. In this dif- 
ficult situation, Islamism poses a significant threat to 
Bosnia's fragile domestic stability. Although the lev- 
els of Islamist terrorism and separatist movements 
are comparable to those elsewhere in Europe, they are 
particularly troublesome in Bosnia for two reasons. 
First, senior political and religious Bosniak (Muslim) 
leaders have long-standing ties to the Muslim Brother- 
hood and Islamist terrorism, including al-Qaeda and 
Iran, that they are very reluctant to abandon. Second, 
Islamism contributes significantly to Bosnia's dys- 
function as a country. Calls to re-impose traditional 
Islamic law, or sharia, arouse opposition from Bosnian 
Serbs and Croats, as does the nostalgia for the Otto- 
man Empire and Islamic Caliphate shared by key Bos- 
niak leaders, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation 
(OIC), and the Turkish government. 

Some analysts think that Bosnia's slide can be re- 
versed by mounting another NATO military mission, 
while others want the United States to accelerate its 
NATO membership. The U.S. Army should be pre- 
pared to explain why the previous NATO mission was 
successful, and why, in contrast, another one would 
be much more difficult. The European Command and 
the Office of the Secretary of Defense should alert 
Washington policymakers to the danger to NATO 
policymaking and day-to-day operations arising 
from the Islamist ties of some Bosniak leaders and 




Eighteen years after the fighting ended in Bosnia- 
Herzegovina (Bosnia), its territorial integrity and in- 
ternal stability are not yet assured. Most observers 
had assumed that membership in the North Atlan- 
tic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European 
Union (EU) would cement Bosnian security. Although 
other Balkan countries have successfully joined those 
two organizations, 1 Bosnia is unlikely to follow them 
any time soon. Instead, reforms that appeared to pave 
the way for membership have stalled. The unity of 
the state is in doubt; its governmental structure is 
unworkable, and its economy is failing. 

The Bosnian governmental structure set up under 
the Dayton Peace Accords included a weak central 
state, two entities (the Bosniak-Croat Federation and 
the Serb Republic), and a separate jurisdiction for the 
disputed town of Brcko. With the Federation further 
divided into 10 relatively autonomous cantons — 
roughly reflecting the territorial divisions between 
Bosniaks and Croats — not only is the result top-heavy 
and unwieldy, but the structure encourages disputes 
and tensions framed in terms of ethnicity. Most ob- 
servers, with the exception of the U.S. Government, 
have concluded that the cumbersome mechanism of 
two entities and a weak central state agreed to at Day- 
ton in 1995 simply does not work. 2 

If Bosnia's economy were thriving, these tensions 
would probably recede. But basic requirements for 
such a thriving economy, such as large-scale energy 
projects, are frequently blocked by the lack of inter- 


entity cooperation. 3 In addition, the economic lib- 
eralization required for growth would deprive the 
multiple layers of officialdom of substantial income, 
whether from controlling state-owned companies in- 
herited from the communist past or revenues from 
the welter of existing regulations and administrative 

Strong leadership might overcome this inertia, but 
strong leadership is exactly what is lacking. Mean- 
while, corruption remains widespread, 4 and the aver- 
age Bosnian faces high unemployment, reaching 57 
percent among young people. 5 Poverty is mitigated by 
extensive state subsidies that further weigh down the 
economy and by black market jobs. 

Former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic and 
former Croatian president Franjo Tudjman famously 
divided up Bosnia on a napkin in 1991. 6 They failed to 
achieve their goal during the subsequent war, but the 
division of Bosnia from within has advanced apace. 
The poor economy has contributed to this process, 
but so has the deliberate policy of alienation pursued 
by all three ethnic groups. An entire generation of 
Bosnians has gone through an ethnically segregated 
educational system in which each group is taught its 
own version of religion, geography, history, and lan- 
guage. 7 Those divisions are then perpetuated by poli- 
ticians who exploit ethnic fears and tensions. 

Unsurprisingly, the inter-ethnic reconciliation 
hoped for at Dayton has not come to pass. Rather, 
an overwhelming majority of Bosnian Serbs support 
the secession of the Serb Republic. A large number 
of Croats have already left the country; they are esti- 
mated now to account for only 10 percent of Bosnia's 
population, as compared with 17 percent in 1991. 8 Of 
those Croats still in country, over 40 percent want to 


carve a third, Croat, entity out of the Federation, 9 de- 
spite the fact that the Dayton quota system currently 
grants them outsize influence (one-third of the state- 
level positions and half of those in the Federation 

As Bosnian analysts Anes Alic and Vildana Skoca- 
jic put it, the majority of Bosnians "do not feel that this 
is their 'homeland'." 10 This puts an alarming spin on 
other, already-disturbing data: some 87 percent feel 
the country is going in the wrong direction, 11 and 77 
percent of young people say they would leave Bosnia 
if they could. 12 Such negative perceptions are also typ- 
ical of a country in demographic decline, as Bosnia is 
today. 13 It may be only mid-ranked on the list of failed 
states, but it is clearly in trouble. 14 

Neither NATO nor the EU can solve these prob- 
lems, despite their best efforts. NATO provided first 
the Implementation Force (IFOR) and then its succes- 
sor, Stabilization Force (SFOR), to maintain stability 
for 9 years after the war. Today, it maintains a military 
headquarters in Sarajevo to assist Bosnia with reforms 
and commitments related to NATO accession. 

Bosnia has met all NATO membership require- 
ments except for the registration of all the defense fa- 
cilities deemed necessary for future defense as proper- 
ties of the central state. 15 The Serb Republic has refused 
to transfer its properties, and its President, Milorad 
Dodik, has called for Bosnia to demilitarize rather than 
join NATO. 16 Clearly, the obstacles to NATO acces- 
sion are political and can be removed only by the Bos- 
nians themselves. Even if they are overcome, NATO 
has no means to solve Bosnia's serious social and 
economic problems. 

EU accession, which requires extensive economic, 
social, and political reforms, is often viewed by U.S. 


policymakers as the critical means to achieve Euro- 
Atlantic integration. One could argue that the EU is 
an unlikely tool for streamlining governments and re- 
ducing the public sector, promoting entrepreneurship 
rather than redistribution, and resolving cultural ten- 
sions among different groups. Nevertheless, the EU 
has prodded Bosnia, inter alia, to strengthen its cen- 
tral state institutions, reform its public administration 
and judicial system, combat corruption, and develop 
a market economy, but with only limited success. To- 
day, EU officials appear to have concluded that there 
is not much they can do to solve Bosnia's problems, 
given Bosnian politicians' lack of vision and interne- 
cine disputes . 17 The EU official in charge of accession 
has warned that, if the present situation persists, Bos- 
nia's application could be "frozen ." 18 

If Bosnia was a just another EU candidate country, 
such an assessment would probably attract little atten- 
tion. But in this case, it is significant, given the huge EU 
effort to rebuild Bosnia. The EU replaced SFOR with 
its own military operation, European Union Force 
(EUFOR); it replaced the United Nations (UN) police 
mission with the European Union Police Mission, and 
for a time it combined the position of EU Special Rep- 
resentative in Bosnia and Herzegovina with that of the 
UN's Office of the High Representative (OHR). in an 
effort to coordinate and direct the civilian internation- 
al community's involvement in Bosnia. The failure of 
such an ambitious effort explains why Europeans now 
say that it is primarily up to the Bosnians, not outsid- 
ers, to fix Bosnia's problems . 19 



In this precarious environment, the growth of Is- 
lamism is particularly worrisome. Islamism contrasts 
strongly with the more-moderate form of Islam tradi- 
tionally practiced in Bosnia. A 20th century political 
ideology based on a religion, Islamism' s ultimate goal 
is to replace Western law with traditional Islamic law, 
or sharia, worldwide. Not only would this undermine 
Western democracy by rejecting the laws designed 
by democratically elected representatives, but sharia's 
fundamental principles — such as inequality before the 
law (more on this topic later in the text) — are antitheti- 
cal to Western law. This transformation to Islamism 
would be accomplished by means of a global Caliph- 
ate, or Islamic empire, headed by a person who is both a 
political and religious leader. 

Most Western observers dismiss warnings about 
the dangers of Islamism as crude Serb or Croat pro- 
paganda intended to undermine the Bosnian state. In 
so doing, they usually note that Islamism is unlikely 
to become a significant force because most Bosniaks 
continue to adhere to their traditionally moderate and 
relatively secular version of Islam. However, evidence 
drawn primarily from Bosniak and Western sources 
reveals a more-nuanced and alarming picture. To un- 
derstand this picture, it is first necessary to identify 
the main types of Islamism influencing Bosnia today. 

Islamists are usually divided into two categories: 
the violent Islamist who pursues holy war, or jihad, 
openly, and his nonviolent counterpart who publicly 
eschews it— except against Israel or Western forces 
fighting in Muslim countries. However, the links be- 
tween violent and nonviolent Islamism, while often 


denied, are increasingly obvious. This is particularly 
true in countries like Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Syr- 
ia, where the Muslim Brotherhood — the best-known 
group in the nonviolent category — now contends 
openly for power. The evidence from Bosnia present- 
ed later in this text also shows a blurred line between 
violence and nonviolence. 

Instead, it is more useful to distinguish among 
three main groups of Islamists in Bosnia: those linked 
to the Muslim Brotherhood, a group whose mem- 
bers participate in democratic institutions and often 
publicly espouse Western values; those engaged in 
terrorist activity, or jihad; and so-called Wahhabis, ad- 
herents of Saudi fundamentalism who reject Western 
institutions. Some Wahhabis are linked to terrorist 
activity, while others are not. There are tensions and 
disputes among the three groups, but they all agree on 
the goal of replacing Western law with sharia. And all 
three groups have connections to the Bosniak political 
and religious elite. 

The Muslim Brotherhood. 

Islamism first appeared in Bosnia in 1941 when 
Alija Izetbegovic and others formed the Young 
Muslims, a group patterned after the Muslim Broth- 
erhood. Izetbegovic' s famous political tract from the 
early-1970s, the Islamic Declaration, contained many 
Islamist concepts, confirming his personal attraction 
to the ideology. 

This ancient history suddenly sprang to life when 
Izetbegovic founded a political party with former 
Young Muslims as its inner core, outmaneuvered his 
more-moderate rivals, and became president of Bos- 
nia in 1990. He filled that position during and after the 


Bosnian war, from 1990-96, and then became a mem- 
ber of the joint presidency (which rotates between a 
Serb, a Croat, and a Bosniak) from 1996-2000. He died 
in 2003, but his legacy lives on, as his long-time as- 
sociate, Haris Silajdzic, and son, Bakir, follow in his 
footsteps, both as presidents of Bosnia and as Islamist 

Brotherhood ties today are very important to an- 
other senior Bosniak, Mustafa Ceric. Ceric served for 
years as Grand Mufti of Sarajevo and the head of the 
official Islamic Community. In addition, he is con- 
sidered to be a leading Bosniak political figure in his 
own right. 

Thus, while little is said or written about Muslim 
Brotherhood activities in Bosnia, the most senior Bos- 
niak leaders — viewed by Westerners as representing 
moderate, relatively secular Muslims — are, in fact, 
closely connected to, or deeply sympathetic with, that 
organization. Their views and their relationships steer 
Bosnia toward Islamism and the Muslim world, while 
alienating Bosniaks from Bosnian Serbs and Croats, 
their fellow citizens. 


Islamism received a tremendous boost with the ar- 
rival of Islamic fighters, or mujahideen, to fight on the 
Bosniak side during the 1992-95 war. Their military 
value has been disputed, but the accompanying finan- 
cial and military support from Saudi Arabia and Iran 
was vital to the Bosniak war effort. While those two 
countries are rivals, they arrived at an accommoda- 
tion in Bosnia to support the mujahideen. Saudi Arabia 
focused on financing and logistical supplies, and Iran 
on importing the fighters and on military aid. 20 


The war in Bosnia definitely gave al-Qaeda a huge 
boost, both in terms of organization and recruitment, 21 
and helped radicalize European Muslims. Many of 
them were revolted by graphic videos of suffering 
Bosniaks, and some traveled to Bosnia to provide aid 
or fight and so came into contact with foreign jihadists. 
Many jihadists later directed their fighting skills against 
European and American targets. Since the war ended 
in 1995, Bosnian veterans from various countries have 
figured in terrorist activities in countries around the 
globe, among them France, Indonesia, Iraq, Malaysia, 
Morocco, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Thailand, the 
United Kingdom, the United States, and Yemen. 22 

The best-known initiatives to combat Islamist ter- 
rorism were the 1996 IFOR raid on an Iranian-run ter- 
rorist training camp in Pogorelica and numerous steps 
taken after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 
(9/11), on the United States. At that time, SFOR inter- 
rupted terrorist plots aimed at NATO and other West- 
ern targets and raided the Saudi High Commission 
and other Saudi charities that were funding terrorist 

By 2004, terrorism expert Evan Kohlmann, in 
a book warning about the Afghan-Bosnian terror- 
ist connection, concluded that al-Qaeda had largely 
failed to take root in Bosnia. He noted the progress 
made in shutting down various terrorist operations 
and expressed the opinion that al-Qaeda had failed 
because moderate Bosniaks rejected its extremist ide- 
ology. 23 However, Kohlmann may have spoken too 
soon. Box 1 shows a continuum from 1996 through 
2006 in which Bosnia served as an active link in the 
al-Qaeda network. 


Box 1 

The "Bosnian Connection" in International 
Islamist Terror. 

• Starting in 1996, senior mujahideen leaders 
such as Abu el-Ma'ali and Abu Sulaimann 
al-Makki, then living as "civilians" in Bo- 
cinja Donja, oversaw plots in France, Italy, 
and Jordan designed to avenge the deaths 
of other leaders. 

• In 2008, the Office of the High Representa- 
tive (OHR) in Sarajevo reportedly uncov- 
ered evidence that senior Bosniak politician 
Hasan Cengic signed off on a money trans- 
fer intended to finance the attacks of 9/11. 

• Karim Said Atmani, the document forger 
for the group plotting the 2000 Millenium 
plot bombing, was a frequent visitor to Bos- 
nia. He obtained his first Bosnian passport 
in 1995 and subsequently was allowed to 
stay without a valid passport after he was 
deported by Canada in 1998. 

• In late-October 2001, Algerians with Bos- 
nian citizenship were arrested by the Bos- 
nian authorities on charges of plotting to fly 
small aircraft from Visoko and crash them 
into SFOR bases in Tuzla and Bratunac. 

• The 2005 plot to bomb the funeral of Pope 
John Paul II in Croatia reportedly origi- 
nated in Gornja Maoca. The plot involved 
smuggling rocket launchers, explosives, 
and detonators into Italy. 


• Also in 2005, Bosnian police raided an apart- 
ment connected to a group seeking to blow 
up the British Embassy in Sarajevo, seizing 
explosives, rifles, other arms, and a video 
pledging vengeance for jihadists killed in 
Afghanistan and Iraq. One of those arrest- 
ed, a Swedish citizen of Bosnian origin, ran 
a website on behalf of Abu Musab Zarqawi, 
head of al-Qaeda in Iraq. 

• In 2006, a group of Bosnians and Macedo- 
nians linked to al-Qaeda were arrested in 
northern Italy after smuggling some 1,800 
guns into that country from Istanbul. 

Sources: Evan F. Kohlmann, Al-Qaida's Jihad in Europe: The 
Afghan-Bosnian Network, New York, Berg, 2004, pp. 176, 199, 
201-209; Bosnia-Herzegovina Federation public TV, May 5, 2008; 
The Washington Post, March 11, 2000; Channel 4 News, Janu- 
ary 17, 2002; ISN, November 17, 2008; The Washington Post, 
December 1, 2005; and Christopher Deliso, The Coming Bal- 
kan Caliphate: The Threat of Radical Islam to Europe and the West, 
Westport, CT: Praeger, 2007, p. 26. 

Nor were the Iranians routed after the 1996 raid in 
Pogorelica. Today, both the Iranian Ministry of Intelli- 
gence and National Security (VEVAK) and the Islamic 
Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) have a presence 
in Bosnia. Of the two, the IRGC reportedly has the 
better, more-extensive network. 24 After the July 2012 
terrorist attack at the Burgas airport in Bulgaria, in- 
ternational attention focused on possible threats from 
Hezbollah elsewhere in the Balkans. An Israeli expert, 
cited by Christopher Deliso, concluded that Bosnia 
posed the biggest danger in the region because "There 
remain pro-Iranian elements in the government, and 


Iran is active through the embassy in Sarajevo and 
charities." 25 

Today, Islamist terrorism persists in Bosnia, wheth- 
er involving al-Qaeda, Iran, or home-grown sources, 
but assessments of the threat it poses vary. Many 
Western analysts largely have dismissed this terror- 
ism as not being a major issue. The 2013 Congressio- 
nal Research Service report on Bosnia, for example, 
makes only a brief mention of terrorism, 26 and recent 
State Department and EU terrorism reports suggest 
that the level of terrorism in Bosnia is no greater than 
elsewhere in Europe. 27 

On the other hand, a leading Bosnian law enforce- 
ment official said that the only reason there have not 
been more terrorist attacks was that "We've had more 
luck than brains." 28 The actual number of individuals 
involved is not trivial; Almir Dzuvo, the director of 
the Intelligence and Security Agency of BiH (OSA), 
estimated in July 2010 that there were 3,000 potential 
terrorists in Bosnia, out of a population of just under 
four million people. 29 

Two conclusions can be drawn from these assess- 
ments. First, the level of terrorist activity in Bosnia 
does appear comparable to levels elsewhere in Eu- 
rope — although, if the Bosnian official cited above is 
right, any optimism should be guarded at best. Sec- 
ond, just because the terrorist threat is not unusual 
does not mean it is not necessarily unimportant. Com- 
parisons with Western Europe can be misleading, as 
terrorism is much more dangerous to a fragile state 
than to a robust democracy. 



One mujahideen leader predicted in 1996 that 
"[fjoreign fighters will not be a problem for Bosnia. 
They will move on. But we planted a seed here and 
you will have more and more Bosnian Muslims prac- 
ticing traditional Islam." 30 The most obvious sign of 
this trend are the so-called Wahhabis, adherents of the 
fundamentalist Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia. 

Estimates of the numbers of Wahhabis or members 
of similar sects vary widely. Observers were surprised 
by the crowd of more than 3,000 people, half of them 
Bosnians, who attended the funeral of a Wahhabist 
leader in 2007, 31 as well as by a 2013 conference in Tu- 
zla that drew 500 participants, mostly young men. 32 
Given that an estimated 4,000 people gather each Fri- 
day to hear radical sermons preached at the Saudi- 
backed King Fahd Mosque in Sarajevo, 33 the number 
of Wahhabis could be quite high. But the most likely 
figure is that given by Federation police (not the police 
of the Serb Republic), who estimated in 2009 that there 
were up to 5,000 practicing Bosnian Wahhabis. 34 

Unsurprisingly, the Wahhabis recruit followers 
from the least privileged classes: 

Bosnian Wahhabis largely target youth with few eco- 
nomic opportunities and [the] downtrodden, both 
from rural areas. They keenly take advantage of pov- 
erty, lack of education and poor social services, offer- 
ing young people and refugees a variety of opportu- 
nities, including jobs, income and fellowship. There 
have been cases in which new members are paid sev- 
eral hundred euros per month for their loyalty. There 
is also evidence that members are paid for convinc- 
ing their wives to wear the hijab in public, among 
other things . 35 


The Saudi role in this process is extensive. The 
Saudis financed an extensive mosque-building pro- 
gram after the war, of which the $30-million King 
Fahd Mosque 36 is only the most visible and influential, 
and built a parallel religious educational structure to 
that offered by the official Islamic Community. 37 The 
Saudis are also believed to fund various Wahhabi 
groups, to educate young Bosnians in Saudi Arabia, 
and to send operatives to Bosnia who typically marry 
Bosnian women and blend into local society. 38 

As the Wahhabi movement has gained momen- 
tum, militants have engaged in violent clashes with 
traditional Bosniaks and sought to impose their stan- 
dards of behavior on the public. Young and charismat- 
ic Wahhabi preachers travel through Western Europe 
and the Balkans, lecturing and giving sermons; they 
maintain popular websites full of jihadist propaganda 
and incitement to terror. One prominent preacher is 
known for a pro -jihadist, anti-American song that he 
performs at weddings and other social events: 
American and other adversaries should know 
That now the Muslims 
Are one like the Taliban 
Listen, brothers, 

Believers of the world 

With dynamite on their chest 

Lead the path to dzennet (heaven). 39 

Some Bosniaks have always been anti-American, 
but the vast majority were openly grateful to the Unit- 
ed States for intervening to stop the war and then to 
keep the peace. No recent polls appear to have mea- 
sured how these views may have changed. It is, how- 
ever, unrealistic to expect young people born during 


or after the war to share that sense of gratitude, or in- 
deed, to expect older people to continue to feel grati- 
tude as the political system imposed at Dayton fails to 
deliver results. 

While Wahhabi violence and proselytization are 
quite visible, these Islamists are even better known 
for their separatist enclaves, which function as "no- 
go-zones." The inhabitants of these enclaves reject 
the authority of the Bosnian government and instead 
impose a strict interpretation of sharia. The first such 
enclave was in the village of Bocinja Donja, formerly a 
Bosnian Serb village, where the Bosniak government 
settled former mujahideen after the war. 

The mujahideen married Bosnian women and so 
acquired Bosnian citizenship. The village provided 
them a safe haven in which to maintain their terror- 
ist contacts under the guise of simple farmers. In the 
1990s, the hostility of the inhabitants of Bocinja Donja 
to outsiders, including SFOR, was palpable, under- 
mining their claims of innocence. Eventually the en- 
clave was closed down, and the village returned to 
its original owners. Now the best-known enclave is in 
Gornja Maoca, a remote village where native Bosnians 
reside along with foreign-born former mujahideen. 

While the Bosnian Serbs continue to insist that 
these enclaves pose a significant security risk, Bos- 
niak policy has been bifurcated. One the one hand, 
there has been pressure to isolate and marginalize 
the Wahhabis, in the hope of making any problems 
go away. Analyst Stephen Schwartz speculates that 
Bosniak political leaders have "pursued a strategy 
of trying to confine the Wahhabi agitators to remote 
locations, rather than settling the problem by conse- 
quential legal proceedings." 40 Not all Bosniak officials 
are willing to settle for this approach, however. The 


authorities have made numerous arrests, including 
a massive 2010 raid on Gornja Maoca and the arrests 
of two of the enclave's leaders following the 2011 at- 
tack on the U.S. embassy in Sarajevo. Up to now, 
though, they have failed to obtain an indictment, let 
alone a conviction. As a result, a cloud of mystery 
is likely to cloak Gornja Maoca and other similar 
enclaves for some time to come, making it difficult 
to determine the degree of danger they pose to Bos- 
nia's internal security or their potential links to inter- 
national terrorism. 

Some observers caution that many Wahhabis are 
peaceful and should not be classified as terrorists, for 
fear of driving them into the arms of groups espous- 
ing violence. 41 The Islamic Community, the official 
Muslim religious organization in Bosnia, has refused 
to condemn the Wahhabis and attacks those who 
criticize them. But the Bosniak public remains unper- 
suaded; when last asked, 71 percent rejected Wah- 
habism, suggesting that this form of Islam remains for 
them both distinct from traditional Bosnian Islam and 
unwelcome. 42 

The Wahhabis do not yet appear to have gained 
control of any significant governmental or official re- 
ligious offices. Nor, although actual numbers are hard 
to estimate, have they created no-go zones in urban 
areas, as has happened in Western Europe. This lack 
of progress is most likely due to visceral opposition 
from local Bosniaks. Attempts to take over mosques 
have ended in violence; in one instance, a resident 
commented: "They should shave their beards and use 
deodorant instead of coming here like dogs. For me, 
they are wolf-dogs, they will attack our children. I 
have female children and do not dare to send them to 
[the religious school] at all." 43 These locals' contempt 
of the Wahhabis is unmistakable. 


Yet, current descriptions of the Federation sug- 
gest it is much more radicalized than was the case in 
the late-1990s. Given that the trend is pointing in the 
wrong direction, it would be foolish to regard Wah- 
habism as purely marginal, especially when an expert 
like Sarajevo professor Resid Hafizovic describes it as 
a "potentially deadly virus" for Bosnian Muslims. 44 
When times are hard and the future is bleak, such 
movements can gain momentum quickly. 


Islamists are active not only in Bosnia, but through- 
out Western Europe and the United States. One fac- 
tor that makes them a greater danger in Bosnia than 
elsewhere, though, is their close connection to Bosniak 
leaders, in particularly three men (Bakir Izetbegovic, 
Haris Silajdzic, and Alija Izetbegovic). These men 
have occupied the Bosniak chair of the central state's 
rotating presidency since its establishment. The dan- 
ger of the Islamists in Bosnia has also been increased 
by their closeness to Mustafa Ceric, the mufti who 
until recently headed Bosnia's official Islamic Com- 

Those men, along with their associates and subor- 
dinates, have pursued policies inimical to the views 
and goals of moderate Muslims, and those of Bosnian 
Serbs and Croats. They have supported Islamist ter- 
rorism and Wahhabism, encouraged alienation be- 
tween Bosniaks and other Bosnians, and sought closer 
ties with Islamist countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran. 

Bakir Izetbegovic. 

The most prominent Bosniak official today is Bakir 
Izetbegovic, the current Bosniak member of the Presi- 


dency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. 45 Bakir served dur- 
ing the war as personal assistant and advisor to his 
father, Alija Izetbegovic, who was then President of 
Bosnia. After the war, from 1999 to 2003, Bakir was a 
member of the managing board of the humanitarian 
Islamic charity, Merhamet. Like other Islamic chari- 
ties, Merhamet used its humanitarian work as a cover 
during the war to deliver weapons to Bosnia. 46 

It is unlikely that Izetbegovic, as a personal as- 
sistant to the President, would have been unaware of 
these activities. Nor could he have been unaware of 
the initiative to bring mujahideen into Bosnia. In fact, 
Dzevad Galijasevic, a former Party of Democratic Ac- 
tion (SDA) official, in 2008, accused Izetbegovic of be- 
ing one of the chief protectors of the mujahideen who 
remained in Bosnia after the war. 47 

Bakir, who for years directed the Construction Bu- 
reau of Sarajevo Canton, was involved in the construc- 
tion of the King Fahd Mosque and reportedly arranged 
for the land on which the complex was built, previous- 
ly owned by Serbs, to be donated to the Saudis. 48 This 
mosque, the largest house of worship for Muslims in 
the Balkans, is also known for its key role as the center 
of Wahhabi influence and power in Bosnia. 49 As such, 
it represents the antithesis of the moderate Islam tra- 
ditionally practiced in Bosnia. Izetbegovic's connec- 
tion to the mosque suggests that he does not share the 
antipathy of many of his fellow Bosniaks for the type 
of Islam that it propagates. 

Another indication of Bakir's ideological orienta- 
tion comes from his involvement in a secular initia- 
tive to advance the observance of sharia, a key Islamist 
goal and one that is vehemently opposed by moder- 
ate Bosniaks. He was responsible for coordinating the 
construction of the Bosna Bank International (BBI) 


Center in Sarajevo, described as "the only commercial 
shopping mall in Bosnia and Herzegovina that has 
prohibited sales of pork and alcohol." 50 The BBI Center 
was built by the BBI, the only bank in Bosnia to offer 
sharia - compliant finance. 51 Among the principal goals 
of s/zcmci-cornpliant finance is enhancing the appeal of 
an Islamic political order. Another is to generate funds 
that can be used to advance Islamist goals. 52 

Finally, Bakir Izetbegovic is known for his sym- 
pathies toward Iran. During his tenure in the BiH 
presidency, bilateral ties between Bosnia and Iran 
have expanded, including in trade and investment. 53 
Izetbegovic called for even closer Iranian-Bosnian ties 
during a meeting with then Iranian president Mah- 
moud Ahmadinejad in February 2013 in Cairo, Egypt, 
on the margins of an Organization of Islamic Coopera- 
tion (OIC) meeting. 54 While a small country like Bosnia 
naturally seeks to maintain good ties with powerful 
countries, these initiatives stand out, coming as they 
did at a time when the UN, the United States, and the 
EU have put sanctions in place to isolate the regime 
in Tehran. 

Some of those connections are particularly contro- 
versial. The Sarajevo weekly Slobodna Bosna reported 
that, according to the Iranian opposition, the Iranian 
Ibn Sina Institute in Sarajevo, described as a scientific 
research institute, is, in fact, the IRGC's headquarters 
in the Balkans. The magazine also questioned the 
bona fides of some 200 Iranian "businessmen" who 
entered Bosnia in the first half of 2012, noting that they 
appeared to lack business contacts. 55 

The controversy only grows when official Iranians 
are alleged to have connections to Islamist terrorism. 
In the spring of 2013, Bakir became embroiled in a dis- 
pute with Bosniak political rival Fahrudin Radoncic, 


a former businessman who is currently the state-level 
minister of security. 56 Bakir reportedly intervened 
to oppose expelling two Iranian diplomats whom 
Radoncic had accused of improper activities and de- 
clared personae non grata. 57 The diplomats eventually 
left, and a third was expelled in June 2013. 58 Two of 
the three had reportedly made contact with the Wah- 
habist leader in Gornja Maoca. 59 While no one has al- 
leged any direct contact between Izetbegovic and the 
Iranian diplomats, or between him and the enclave of 
Gornja Maoca, the reports do raise questions about 
whether Bosnia's most senior Bosniak politician is 
opening the door to Iranian intelligence services and 
terrorist operatives. 

Haris Silajdzic. 

Izetbegovic' s predecessor in the tri-presidency was 
Haris Silajdzic. A prominent SDA politician, Silajdzic 
was a former close associate of Alija Izetbegovic and 
a senior member of his wartime cabinet, serving first 
as foreign minister and then as prime minister. Dur- 
ing that time, he also oversaw directly the effort to 
bring mujahideen to Bosnia. 60 Silajdzic was an effective 
spokesman for the Bosniak cause, making the case 
that his side was Western, secular, and democratic. 
However, his true convictions apparently lay with the 
mujahideen : In July 1995, he declared an Islamic holy 
war on Sarajevo TV and invited all Islamic states to 
fight on the side of Bosnia's Muslims. 61 

After the war, Silajdzic' s political career took sev- 
eral twists and turns. He continued to hold high gov- 
ernment positions, but in 1997, he left the SDA to form 
the Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He resigned his 


government and party positions abruptly on Septem- 
ber 21, 2001, reportedly because of his radical connec- 
tions, 62 but remerged 5 years later to win the election 
to the tri-presidency. 

In 2006, Silajdzic ran on a platform to abolish 
the Federation and the Serb Republic entities and 
strengthen the central Bosnian state — an unacceptable 
proposal for any official of the Serb Republic. In of- 
fice, he engaged in a very public and polarizing dis- 
pute with Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, thereby 
contributing to the radicalization of Bosnian society. 
In the opinion of analyst Steven Oluic, Silajdzic took 
Bosnian society and politics back to the painful days 
of 1995. It is also noteworthy that the Iranian gov- 
ernment not only expressed pleasure at his election 
but pledged him its continuing support. 63 In 2008, 
Silajdzic was among those identified by Galijasevic as 
one of the chief Bosnian protectors of the mujahideen 
since the war. 64 Looking at ah these factors, there can 
be little doubt of Silajdzic's Islamist convictions, de- 
spite his ability to appeal to Western audiences as a 
secularist democrat supposedly committed to multi- 
nationalism. 65 

Alija Izetbegovic. 

Neither of those men, however, has had as last- 
ing an impact on Bosnian politics and society as Alija 
Izetbegovic, Bakir's father. Izetbegovic, the man af- 
fectionately called "Dedo" (Grandpa) by many Bos- 
niaks, 66 was Bosnia's president during the war and 
then the first Bosniak member of the tri-presidency. 
Throughout, he became the embodiment and sym- 
bol of embattled Muslims. Many U.S. policymakers 
considered him a leading proponent of multiethnic 


democracy and tolerance. Yet, Izetbegovic left nu- 
merous signs pointing to his Islamist ideology. Even 
more importantly, he succeeded in forming an Is- 
lamist cadre of insiders, including Haris Silajdzic and 
Bakir Izetbegovic, which remains highly influential 
today and has done much to shape Bosnia's post-war 

Izetbegovic' s Islamist ideology is laid out in his fa- 
mous political manifesto, The Islamic Declaration, 67 for 
which, during the 1980s, he was sentenced to 5 years 
in prison. 68 Some excerpts, shown in Box 2, provide 
disturbing insights into his thinking. 

Box 2 

The Islamic Declaration on Islamic Government 
and Society. 

• ... the Islamic order posits two fundamen- 
tal assumptions: an Islamic society and 
Islamic governance. . . . An Islamic society 
without an Islamic authority is incomplete 
and without power; Islamic governance 
without an Islamic society is either utopia 
or violence (p. 26). 

• There can be neither peace nor coexistence 
between the Islamic religion and non- 
Islamic social and political institutions 
(p. 30). 

• ... the Islamic movement should and can 
start to take over power as soon as it is 
morally and numerically strong enough 
to be able to overturn not only the existing 
non-Islamic government, but also to build 
up a new Islamic one. . . . (p. 56). 


Simply put, Muslims living in a non-Muslim ma- 
jority country should play by the rules of that coun- 
try— until they are strong enough to overthrow the 
system and install an Islamic government. Nothing 
in the Declaration suggested any compromise toward 
this goal. 

Most Westerners ignored the Declaration or dis- 
missed its contents on the assumption that it had been 
attacked by the Yugoslav government simply because 
it was an anti-communist tract. But the Declaration was 
much more than that— and it was politically relevant 
after the fall of Yugoslavia. It was published in 1990 
(before that, it was distributed secretly only) 69 and 
later distributed to the troops of the Bosniak army. 70 
Since then, the Declaration has figured prominently 
in Bosniak-Serb political disputes. Bosnian Serb lead- 
ers Radovan Karadzic and Milorad Dodik have both 
testified before the International Criminal Tribunal 
for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, The 
Czech Republic, that Izetbegovic intended to build an 
Islamic state in Bosnia based on the concepts set out in 
the Declaration. 71 

Accusations of Izetbegovic' s continued commit- 
ment to the ideology of the Declaration were consistent 
with his marked preference for the Islamist regime in 
Iran. That preference first surfaced in 1983, when he 
was accused of seeking Iranian support for his cause. 72 
Izetbegovic visited Iran in May 1991 as president of 
Bosnia and obtained assurances of Iranian support a 
year prior to the outbreak of hostilities. 73 His heavy re- 
liance on Iran during the war presumably reinforced 
his view of the Iranian Islamist regime as a genuine 
ally. This positive view of Iran, as shown previously, 
appears to be shared by his son, Bakir. 


Ideology is, of course, of little impact without an 
organization to implement it. Izetbegovic created such 
an organization in the late-1980s: the SDA. Although 
the SDA gave the impression of being a moderate 
Muslim party in order to win Bosniak votes and gar- 
ner Western sympathy, its inner core was comprised 
of former Young Muslims. 74 The Young Muslims was 
the conspiratorial group, patterned after the Muslim 
Brotherhood, which Izetbegovic had joined in 1941. 
It based its operations and program on Islamism, 75 
and one of its main principles was the unification 
of the Muslim world through the creation of a large 
Muslim state. 76 

Although the Yugoslav government did its best 
to stamp out the group, it survived underground for 
decades. Some of its leading members (Hasan Cengic, 
Omer Behmen, Edhem Bicakcic, Huso Zivalj, and 
Ismet Kasumagic), imprisoned with Izetbegovic in 
1983, were assigned the most sensitive and important 
tasks during the war. Hasan Cengic, for example, sat 
on the board of directors of the Third World Relief 
Agency (TWRA). TWRA was the principal conduit 
for sending money (much of it from Iran) and arms 
to Bosnia. 77 Omer Behmen handled SDA personnel 
matters 78 before working the other end of the pipe- 
line as ambassador to Iran. Muhammed Sacirbey, 
Izetbegovic' s wartime ambassador to the UN, was the 
son of Nedzib Saeirbegovic who had been imprisoned 
with Izetbegovic after World War II. 79 Nedzib was ap- 
pointed ambassador-at-large to Islamic countries. 80 

Several Young Muslims continued their political 
careers in the post-war period: Zivalj became Bosnia's 
ambassador to the UN, and Bicakcic became prime 
minister of the Federation. After the war, Cengic 
served as Federation deputy defense minister until the 


United States forced his dismissal . 81 Behmen focused 
on ideology, working actively with Islamist youth or- 
ganizations and educational institutions on a so-called 
"third offensive" of the Young Muslims movement . 82 

The fortunes of most of these individuals have 
attracted little attention from U.S. policymakers, but 
the same cannot be said for the activity that first drew 
Western attention to Izetbegovic' s Islamist connec- 
tions: his decision to bring mujahideen to Bosnia. His 
personal connections reached the very top of al-Qae- 
da: during the war Osama Bin Laden, who had been 
issued a Bosnian passport, reportedly met Izetbegovic 
in his Sarajevo office . 83 

After the war, all foreign fighters were required to 
leave Bosnia under the terms of the Dayton Peace Ac- 
cords. Despite the best efforts of IFOR and the U.S. 
Government, many still remained in the country — 
and Izetbegovic protected them. He openly supported 
supposedly disbanded mujahideen military units , 84 
while numerous murders and other acts of violence, 
particularly against Bosnian Croats living in the Fed- 
eration, were carried out by those same mujahideen 
and their Bosnian accomplices . 85 

These were not just random acts of violence in a 
lawless post-war period. Rather, the SDA was using 
the mujahideen "as powerful leverage in a struggle 
to maintain an ethnic majority in previously mixed 
regions of Central Bosnia and Sarajevo. . . ." 86 In the 
process, Bosnia itself became the victim: Independent 
Bosniak journalist Senad Avdic reportedly accused 
the party of turning the country into "a European 
dump for all kinds of scum, murderers, terrorists, 
and adventurers of all sorts who have earned the 
status of equal citizens of this country with 'selam' 
and 'tekbir '." 87 


During the same period, more than 200 Iranian 
agents reportedly infiltrated Bosniak political and so- 
cial circles as well as the U.S. "Train and Equip" mili- 
tary program, collaborating closely with a pro-Iranian 
faction within the Bosniak intelligence service. These 
agents aimed to gather information, sow dissension 
between Bosniak and Croat participants in "Train and 
Equip," and turn Bosniak leaders against the West. 
It is highly unlikely that Izetbegovic was unaware of 
this activity, as the Bosniak intelligence service at that 
time reported directly to him. 88 

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, 
a number of terrorists were apprehended, and the 
charities funding them were closed. Then moderate 
political parties won a national election, and Munir 
Alibabic, a senior Bosniak security expert known for 
opposing al-Qaeda and the Iranian influence, was 
appointed head of the Federation Intelligence and 
Security Service. 89 

In May 2002, Alibabic arrested five senior Bosniak 
officials connected to the SDA on suspicion of terror- 
ism and espionage. The officials were allegedly linked 
to the murders of Croats, bomb blasts at Catholic 
sites, and two high-profile assassinations. The SDA 
protested; all were released in October 2002, and no 
indictment was ever brought. 90 Instead, Alibabic was 
dismissed by OHR's High Representative Paddy Ash- 
down for mishandling intelligence information. 91 

The SDA soon returned to power, making rev- 
elations of its misdeeds even more unlikely, while at 
the same time, the accusations fester and suspicions 
remain regarding their Islamist sympathies. As one 
analyst wrote, "There are countless examples of local 
authorities in Bosnia failing to act properly against Is- 
lamic extremism. The majority of these criminal cases 
have not been resolved and when the terrorists are 


identified the trials take years." 92 The SDA top leader- 
ship may be innocent of the charges leveled against it, 
but it has made no effort to clear the air. 

Much about Izetbegovic's wartime activities might 
have become known had he lived longer: At the time 
of his death in 2003, the ICTY was investigating him 
for alleged war crimes. However, after he died, the 
ICTY closed its investigation, thus shutting off a major 
avenue of inquiry that might have illuminated some 
of these murky postwar terrorist activities. 

Mustafa Ceric. 

Much of the support for Bosniak nationalist par- 
ties and policies comes from former Grand Mufti of 
Sarajevo Mustafa Ceric. For years, he led the Islamic 
Community, the official Muslim organization in Bos- 
nia. Despite his position in a religious hierarchy, Ceric 
"has been and is playing an increasingly important 
political role among Bosniaks, that often surpasses 
that of any politician," according to a Bosnian human 
rights advocate. 93 Like Silajdzic, Ceric set himself up 
in opposition to Dodik, continuing wartime rhetoric 
by portraying Bosniaks as victims in mortal danger 
from the Serbs. 

Feted in Western Europe as a moderate Muslim, 
Ceric enjoys a different reputation at home, where he 
is known as "homo duplex," the man with two faces. 
This nickname arises from numerous indications that 
he is anything but "moderate" — a judgment based on 
his ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, his view regard- 
ing the imposition of sharia, and his positions on Wah- 
habism. These range from refusing to condemn it to 
hurling accusations of Islamophobia at anyone who 
criticizes it. 


Ceric's current ties to the Muslim Brotherhood 
arise from his membership in two pan-European or- 
ganizations: the European Council for Research and 
Fatwa, a Brotherhood-linked group chaired by Sheikh 
Yousef al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Broth- 
erhood, and the UK-based "Radical Middle Way," 
which includes a wide range of scholars associated 
with the global Muslim Brotherhood. 94 

On several occasions, Ceric has publicly advocated 
positions consistent with Brotherhood ideology. For 
example, in 2006, he issued the document, "A Decla- 
ration of European Muslims," in which he declared 
European Muslims (including Bosniaks) fully com- 
mitted to the values of democracy and human rights 
but called, among other things, for the partial imple- 
mentation of sharia. 95 Several years later he argued, in 
a speech in Berlin, Germany, that implementing sharia 
would not be contrary to Bosnia's constitution— a po- 
sition that would probably surprise most Bosniaks. 96 

Over the years, Ceric has refused to condemn 
Wahhabism. His position stands in stark contrast to 
that of representatives and leaders of the Islamic Com- 
munity in Montenegro, who did not hesitate to con- 
demn Wahhabist activities. 97 Ceric has implied that 
his stance simply reflects his relative weakness. The 
King Fahd Mosque and many other religious institu- 
tions funded by the Saudis who spread Wahhabism 
are not under the control of the Islamic Community. 
When asked if Saudi funding was deleterious, Ceric 
replied that Bosnia was in no position to turn down 
money from Saudi Arabia, which, after all, was an ally 
of the West. 98 

But Ceric goes far beyond what would be required 
if he were simply bowing to a stronger player. He at- 
tacks critics of Wahhabism for being "Islamophobes" 
(a well-known, if poorly-defined, term coined by the 


Muslim Brotherhood), and has led the way in devel- 
oping the concept of "good" versus "bad" Bosniaks. 

As the Embassy in Sarajevo reported in a 2009 clas- 
sified cable released by Wikileaks: 

'Good Bosniaks/ according to this sentiment, are those 
who espouse conservative political and religious ide- 
als. More moderate and secular ideals are, by impli- 
cation, held by 'bad Bosniaks.' Statements from the 
Islamic Community, particularly its leader, [Grand 
Mufti] Ceric, that label those who criticize Islamic 
Community as 'Islamophobic' have sharpened this 
polarization among Bosniaks . 99 

Indeed, in 2010 and 2011, the Islamic Community 
issued reports on Islamophobia, cataloguing all the 
statements and actions that it believes express intoler- 
ance, hate, and hostility against Islam and Muslims. 
The definition deliberately obscures any differences 
among Muslims. 100 

In 2012, Ceric was replaced as Grand Mufti by 
Hussein Effendi Kavazovic, the mufti of Tuzla who is 
considered close to Ceric. 101 The well-known observer 
group. International Crisis Group (ICG), recently sug- 
gested that "[t]he Islamic community's best contribu- 
tion would be to help craft a vision for Bosnia that 
Croats and Serbs can share." 102 The Islamic Commu- 
nity, after years of Ceric's leadership, has a long way 
to go to address the Islamism in its midst. Until that 
happens, the Community is unlikely to produce a uni- 
fying vision that all Bosnians can support. 

In fact, the long-term impact of the Islamism of 
these men and their colleagues, subordinates, and 
supporters will most likely be extremely detrimen- 
tal to the future of the country. Bosniak terror expert 
Dzevad Galijasevic describes the danger vividly: 


Active Islamism is pushing one's own nation in the 
whirlpool of problems of other Islamic countries. It is 
getting Bosnian Muslims interested in events in the 
Arab world, in the Iranian revolution, in the Islamic 
Republic of Pakistan. It is bringing Bosnia closer to 
Palestine. It is turning Muslims' true historical broth- 
ers, Serbs and Croats, into eternal and irreconcilable 
enemies, and turning Arabs into the only and actual 
brothers who look, behave, and talk differently and 
have a completely different view of the family, the 
state, and themselves . 103 

The following section examines in more detail the 
way in which Islamism promotes alienation among 
Bosnian ethnic groups. 


Analysts often blame the failure to build a Bosnian 
state on the Serbs and Croats. Certainly, members of 
both ethnic groups have contributed to that failure, 
in part by their own actions and in part because of 
the external "pull" from a neighboring state. Croa- 
tia offers Bosnian Croats refuge in a country that is 
becoming Western, joining NATO and the EU, and 
achieving prosperity — unlike Bosnia — and some Cro- 
ats have already left. Bosnian Serbs have not been 
so lucky: Serbia and the vision of Greater Serbia are 
languishing in the political, economic, and social 
doldrums. Yet, Serbia was once an economic power- 
house, and even today Bosnian Serbs dream about 
reuniting the Serb Republic with it, regardless of any 
practical difficulties. 

It is wrong, however, to disregard the "push" fac- 
tors (aside from the poor economy) that also exert a 
powerful influence on Bosnian Serbs and Croats. One 


very important factor is embedded in Balkan history 
during the period when the Ottoman Empire enforced 
sharia. Sharia covers all aspects of life, not just religious 
doctrine and practice, and applies to non-Muslims as 
well as to Muslims. It grants Islam a privileged, pro- 
tected status, and conflicts directly with Western con- 
cepts such as freedom of speech and religion and uni- 
versal human rights. There is no equality before the 
law; for example, men have more rights than women, 
and Muslims have more rights than non-Muslims. 
Non-Muslims are not allowed to rule over Muslims. 104 

Under the Ottomans, in accordance with sharia, 
non-Muslims were "tolerated;" that is, they were al- 
lowed to maintain their religious communities and 
laws but enjoyed fewer rights than Muslims in a sys- 
tem now referred to as dhimmitude. The presence of 
non-Muslims was tolerated as long as they played by 
the rules. Failure to do so meant that they were no lon- 
ger protected and could be killed. 105 

Bosnian Serbs and Croats have not forgotten this 
system of dhimmitude. When Bosniak politicians talk 
about tolerance, Serbs and Croats suspect that they re- 
ally mean a political system in which Muslims domi- 
nate. Similarly, Serbs and Croats dismiss Bosniak 
leaders' affirmations of their commitment to multi- 
ethnicity, since under sharia, "multiethnic" means 
that many different ethnicities co-exist peacefully — 
but only under Muslim domination and according to 
strict rules. 

These tensions would exist to some degree, regard- 
less of which political ideology was dominant among 
Bosniaks. As historian Aleksa Djilas described the 
problem in 1992: 


Muslims imagined Bosnia as an independent state 
in which they would predominate. Although it was 
only Muslim extremists who thought non-Muslims 
should be expelled from Bosnia, most Muslim lead- 
ers believed only a Muslim should be allowed full 
citizenship. Religious Muslims based their demand 
for supremacy on the traditional belief that the rule 
of non-Muslims over Muslims was blasphemous. But 
most Muslims were typical nationalists. They wanted 
more for their group. . . . 106 

Islamists do, in fact, hold more extreme views 
than do traditional Muslims regarding the treatment 
of non-Muslims. The results are obvious in numerous 
countries today where the Muslim Brotherhood, along 
with other Islamist groups, has contributed greatly to 
the destruction of property, torture, murder, and mass 
migration of non-Muslims from lands where they had 
lived for over 1,400 years. 

In his Islamic Declaration, 107 Alija Izetbegovic, took 
a less extreme position regarding non-Muslims, but 
one that nevertheless provides no comfort to Bosnian 
Serbs and Croats. The Declaration's message is simple: 
Muslims should play by the democratic rules until 
they are strong enough to impose an Islamic state. 
Once there is an Islamic state, non-Muslims may re- 
main, but only in a subordinate status. If Christians 
abandoned their religious organization, Izetbegovic 
was prepared to offer them "understanding and coop- 
eration." (See Box 3.) 


Box 3 

The Islamic Declaration on Living 
with Non-Muslims. 

Muslims in a non-Islamic state: 

• Muslim minorities within a non-Islamic 
community, provided they are guaranteed 
freedom to practice their religion, to live 
and develop normally, are loyal and must 
fulfill all their commitments to that com- 
munity, except those which harm Islam 
and Muslims (p. 50). 

• The position of Muslim minorities in non- 
Islamic communities will always in reality 
depend on the strength of the international 
Islamic community and the esteem in 
which it is held (p. 50). 

Non-Muslim minorities in an Islamic state: 

• The non-Muslim minorities within an 
Islamic state, provided they are loyal, en- 
joy religious freedom and all protection 
(p. 50). 

• [W]e differentiate between Christ's teach- 
ing and the church. The former we regard 
as the pronunciation of God, deformed on 
some points, and the latter as an organiza- 
tion, which . . . has become not only non- 
Islamic, but anti-Christian, (p. 68) 

• If Christians so wish, the future may offer 
an example of understanding and coop- 
eration between two great religions for the 
well-being of people and mankind (p. 68). 


The influence that Islamists hold in Bosnia is also 
key with regard to their publicly stated goal of estab- 
lishing a global Caliphate. The Caliphate last existed 
under the Ottoman Empire. While talking about it may 
baffle or bemuse Westerners, the reference is all too 
clear to inhabitants of the Balkans. This Islamist goal 
is dangerous because it also appeals to non-Islamist 
Muslims and because it is shared by two increasingly 
important foreign players: Turkey and the OIC. 

The importance of Bosnia to Turkey has been abun- 
dantly clear ever since Turkey joined the UN wartime 
peacekeeping mission there in the 1990s. The Turkish 
military remained in its headquarters in Zenica after 
the cessation of hostilities and joined the IFOR/SFOR 
mission. The military transitioned seamlessly to the 
EUFOR Althea follow-on mission, where Turkey is 
now the second largest troop-contributing nation. 108 

In recent years, Turkey has used its relative eco- 
nomic strength to build influence in the Balkans. Its 
trade with those countries has increased, as has its 
investment in Bosnia. On the cultural side, Turkish 
companies have built the largest university campus 
in the Balkans in Ilidza, a suburb of Sarajevo. 109 These 
developments are all the more visible, given the ab- 
sence of increased investment from Europe or the 
United States. Turkish diplomats have also been very 
active in seeking to promote reconciliation among the 
Balkan countries. 

Regional conciliation and economic development 
are laudable goals, and even cultural ties with Turkey 
are welcomed by many ethnic groups. 110 The nostalgia 
of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and 
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu for the Ottoman 
Empire, however, is more likely to raise the hackles 
of non-Muslims. 111 A good example of this is the con- 


troversy provoked by remarks that Davutoglu made 
at a 2009 Sarajevo conference on "Ottoman Heritage 
and Muslim Communities in the Balkans Today." His 
speech was ambiguous: He proclaimed that "[n]ow is 
the time for reunification" in the form of "reestablish- 
ing ownership in the region, through reestablishing 
multicultural coexistence, and through establishing a 
new economic zone." 112 He did not specify what he 
meant by "reunification," nor who the new owner 
would be, but he clearly meant Turkey to dominate. 
For those Bosnians who put Davutoglu' s remarks in 
a historical context, his call for "multicultural coexis- 
tence" was likely to be interpreted as a reference to the 
Ottoman system of dhimmitude. Nor was it much more 
helpful to place the remarks in a modern context, giv- 
en that Christians feel increasingly endangered in an 
even-more "Islamist" Turkey. 113 

Turkish "neo-Ottomanism" in itself is unlikely to 
become a credible threat to Bosnians, since the Ameri- 
can Embassy in Ankara described Turkey as having 
"Rolls Royce ambitions, but Rover resources." 114 But 
the topic itself remains sensitive. Were the Bosniak 
leadership genuinely committed to reconciling Bos- 
nia's ethnic groups, it would presumably find some 
diplomatic way to cushion or rebut such statements. 

In addition to its bilateral ties to Turkey, Saudi Ara- 
bia, and Iran, Bosnia has observer status at the OIC, 
the international organization representing 56 Muslim 
countries and the Palestinian Authority. Saudi Arabia 
provides the most funding for the OIC; Iran, Pakistan, 
Malaysia, Indonesia, and Turkey are other leading 
members. While not an Islamist organization, the OIC 
is dedicated to advancing Islam throughout the world 
and to supporting Muslim minorities in non-Islamic 
countries. It shares the vision of a global Caliphate 
that implements sharia and, indeed, claims to be its 


present embodiment. 115 From time to time, OIC mem- 
bers may be at odds with the Muslim Brotherhood, 
but both organizations nevertheless cooperate to pro- 
mote mutual objectives. 

During an April 2013 visit to Sarajevo, OIC Sec- 
retary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu urged Bosnia 
to upgrade to full membership. Bakir Izetbegovic 
suggested that full membership would be useful to 
Bosnia by giving it access to OIC development fund- 
ing. 116 Were this to occur, Bosnia would presumably 
have to adopt any existing OIC agreements or conven- 
tions, including the 1990 Cairo Declaration on Human 
Rights. 117 The Cairo Declaration rules out any rights 
incompatible with the Koran. That principle negates 
much of Western human rights, such as equality for 
religious minorities and freedom of speech, including 
the right to criticize Islam. 

The OIC reinforces the tenets of the Cairo Declara- 
tion by means of annual reports on Islamophobia in 
Western countries, similar to the reports on Bosnia 
prepared by the Islamic Community. Bosnian OIC 
membership would probably give added impetus to 
this exercise, making it ever more difficult to criticize 
Islamist policies or groups. The OIC could be expected 
to show an active interest in Bosnian internal devel- 
opments, as it recently resuscitated its Bosnia Contact 
Group from the early-1990s. 118 There is little chance 
that the OIC would remain neutral regarding disputes 
between Bosniaks and Bosnian Serbs and Croats. 

Given all these factors, Bakir Izetbegovic' s com- 
ments in favor of full OIC membership were hardly 
designed to improve inter-ethnic relations. Bos- 
nian Serbs and Croats may exaggerate the threat of 
Islamism or potential Islamic dominance, but the 
Bosniak leadership certainly provides them with 
plenty of ammunition. 



Many observers worry that the situation in Bos- 
nia could spiral downward into violence, and call for 
Western intervention, whether political or military, to 
ward off such a development. This section reviews po- 
tential sources of destabilizing violence as a prelude to 
discussing Western options. 

Few observers think that renewed inter-ethnic ten- 
sion could lead to the level of violence that occurred 
in the early-1990s. Partly, this is because, as detailed 
previously, the impetus in Serbia or Croatia to fuel a 
civil war or to intervene directly is greatly reduced 
from what it was 2 decades ago. 

Moreover, Bosnian military forces have under- 
gone significant change. In 2006, the armies of the 
three "former warring factions" were melded into a 
unified Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina 
(AFBiH) under a central ministry of defense, and radi- 
cally downsized. The force has a mandated strength 
of 10,000 professional soldiers, with a reserve of 5,000, 
and 1,000 civilian employees. According to a 2011 
study, actual troops are estimated to be only 8,500, of 
which an estimated 2,000 troops are required to guard 
defense sites containing arms and munitions. The 
reserves are inactive. Lack of funding constrains the 
army's efforts to meet NATO standards and to con- 
tribute troops to NATO missions. 119 

The AFBiH, although small in size, is courted in to- 
day's highly politicized environment. The 2011 study 
reported "numerous incidents ... of political leaders 
addressing AFBiH officers and troops with nationalist 
statements at events with nationalist symbols, includ- 
ing politicians from neighboring states." 120 However, 


few think that the ethnically integrated command 
structure is likely to do anything rash. Rather, "[t]he 
general fear is not that the AFBiH will generate insta- 
bility, but rather that it could fall victim to deepening 
political instability." 121 

During and after the war, the separate secret police 
structures of the three ethnic groups were responsible 
for much mayhem and havoc. Today, they have, at 
least formally, been dismantled and their functions 
taken over since 2004 by the OSA. The OSA is charged 
with intelligence gathering to protect the security, ter- 
ritorial integrity, and constitutional order of Bosnia. 122 

OSA has been praised for its professional conduct 
and political independence. 123 Unfortunately, it must 
share its responsibility for pursuing organized crime 
with the regular police forces and the judiciary, who 
remain more vulnerable to political pressure and cor- 
ruption. 124 In the polarized atmosphere of recent years, 
there is little chance this will change. OSA must also 
share its duty to combat terrorism with many other 
agencies. While Bosnia has made overall progress in 
this area, occasional lapses such as the mysterious dis- 
appearance from prison of the well-known terrorist 
Karay Kamel bin Ali, aka Abu Hamza, still occur. 125 

If Bosnia's neighbors and its armed forces appear 
unlikely to initiate ethnic violence, that does not mean 
there is no threat. The authors of the 2011 security 
study cited previously, worry about the possibility of 
lower-level violence, which will most likely coalesce 
along ethnic lines. People who could be drawn into 
such violence include members of various domestic 
groups like football hooligans, special forces, and in- 
telligence veterans now employed by private security 
companies, or individuals in the police forces and 
judiciary — two key institutions in which reforms to 


establish professionalism and impartiality remain in- 
complete. 126 Such violence, while short of war, could 
nevertheless be devastating to regular, law-abiding 


For most Americans, the Balkans faded from view 
a decade ago, and Bosnia is a long-forgotten, remote 
place of no particular interest. At the time, however, 
the Bill Clinton administration and much of the for- 
eign policy elite feted making and keeping the peace 
in Bosnia as a significant foreign policy achievement. 
The George H. W. Bush administration, initially skep- 
tical, maintained the SFOR mission and then termi- 
nated it successfully. This success contrasts with the 
disillusionment over subsequent U.S. missions in Iraq 
and Afghanistan. 

Indeed, there was reason to celebrate. Conditions 
in Bosnia remained largely peaceful throughout the 9 
years of IFOR/SFOR deployment: SFOR retained its 
authority, kept casualties to a minimum, and helped 
bring about significant defense and military reforms. 
When SFOR departed in 2004, the handover to EUFOR 
was not only orderly and peaceful, but welcomed by 
the EU. It was not until 2 years after SFOR's departure 
that Bosnia's political environment began to unravel. 

Geopolitically, there is much to be said for seek- 
ing to ensure that Bosnia retains its territorial integrity 
and Western orientation— that, like most other Euro- 
pean countries, it joins both NATO and the EU. Yet, 
today, these desired outcomes are far from assured. 
Calls for a third, Croat entity or other forms of Croat 
separatism threaten the current fragile political bal- 
ance within the Federation. Russia has courted the 


Bosnian Serbs as they call for secession and/ or a ref- 
erendum on NATO accession, 127 and the OIC has done 
the same with the Bosniaks. Were Bosnia to split into 
three parts, the Bosniak rump state would come under 
strong pressure to join the OIC and could, in so doing, 
set a decidedly non-Western course. 

The Europeans are as mindful of these risks as are 
the Americans, but the EU's recent experiences have 
made them very pessimistic about what outsiders can 
do if Bosnians refuse to help themselves. In addition, 
the EU is preoccupied with urgent problems of its 
own, such as the recurring euro crisis. 

Nor is the EU equipped to resolve Bosnia's inter- 
ethnic tensions. On such issues, fuzzy rhetoric prevails, 
not constructive policies or actions. For example, EU 
Council President Herman Van Rompuy, in response 
to a complaint by Bosnian Croat Cardinal Vinko Puljic 
that Bosnian Muslim discrimination was driving out 
Catholics, countered that a "European perspective" 
(e.g., EU membership) "is the only way to overcome 
the crisis." 128 Exactly how this transformation would 
work is unclear, especially since the European Com- 
mission, in its 2012 annual report on Bosnia, devoted 
one short paragraph out of 60 pages to the issue of 
religious discrimination — and offered a high-level in- 
terfaith meeting as a remedy. 129 

Puljic had linked the tension between Muslims and 
Catholics to the growth of Islamism, arguing that "[t] 
ime is running out as there is a worrisome rise in radi- 
calism." Yet, the Bosnian government has done more 
than its EU counterparts to combat Islamism. No EU 
government has conducted a raid like the one in 2010 
on the Wahhabist village of Gornja Maoca, despite 
the growth in various West European cities of similar, 
s/za na-implementing enclaves. 


Instead, EU governments categorize these areas as 
no-go zones and advise non-Muslims to avoid them. 
They appear to have no plan for keeping sharia zones 
from undermining the democratic rule of law in their 
countries or from incubating or protecting terrorists. 
Expecting the EU to solve Bosnia's current problems 
tied to Islamism is simply unrealistic. 


Given the deteriorating conditions in Bosnia, some 
have called for the United States to reassert leadership 
there before violence breaks out again. Two proposals 
by experts on Bosnia are worth examining: first, for 
a new military mission, and second, for accelerated 
Bosnian entry into NATO. 

A New Military Mission. 

Janusz Bugajski of the Center for Strategic and In- 
ternational Studies argues that ground forces must be 
deployed to avert violence. Unlike IFOR/SFOR, Eu- 
ropean nations should assume primary responsibility, 
while the United States provides "strong diplomatic, 
political, and logistical support." The exercise would 
be backed by "a firmer trans-Atlantic strategic com- 
mitment to bringing all countries in the region into 
both NATO and the EU ." 130 

Bugajski's proposal assumes that an international 
military force would not only forestall violence, but 
return Bosnia to a path of reform that would allow 
it to join NATO and the EU. However, hopes that a 
military mission could restart reforms appear to be 
based on a misreading of the past. SFOR and NATO's 
follow-on military headquarters in Sarajevo were, in- 


deed, instrumental in pushing for a unified Bosnian 
military, one of the major post-Dayton achievements. 
SFOR, however, had the authority to weigh in on de- 
fense sector reforms because military oversight fell 
within its purview under Annex 1A of the Dayton 
Peace Accords. 

It is by no means clear why another military mis- 
sion would succeed in putting Bosnia back on track 
to join either organization. The stumbling block to 
NATO accession is purely political: The Bosnian Serbs 
are not only refusing to transfer military facilities to 
the central state but have called NATO membership 
itself into question. It would be suicidal for an interna- 
tional military mission to inject itself into this dispute. 

Nor could such a mission help promote EU ac- 
cession, a far-more-complex and demanding process 
than NATO accession — covering everything from ag- 
riculture to finance to transport — and in which a mili- 
tary mission would have neither authority nor exper- 
tise. A military mission by itself is highly unlikely to 
somehow cajole or force Bosnians back onto the path 
of reform and nation-building. Although a military 
mission is unlikely to advance either NATO or EU ac- 
cession, it could still appear attractive if an outbreak 
of violence were to threaten the gains made in Bos- 
nia since Dayton. Again, the comparison with IFOR/ 
SFOR could prove misleading on several counts. 

First, IFOR/SFOR relied heavily on European 
troop contributors. Yet, the European experiences in 
Bosnia since SFOR's departure in 2004 have not been 
positive. The EU-led EUFOR in Sarajevo has not fared 
well; it began with 7,000 troops in December 2004 and 
has since been reduced to a troop level of 600. 131 This 
reduction reflects its drop in effectiveness. According 
to Azinovic et al, most observers believe that EUFOR's 


visibility is its only contribution; that its ability to de- 
ter politically directed violence is very limited. 132 

In part, this decline is the result of troop require- 
ments for other missions, as EU military forces are 
also required for NATO, UN, and national military 
missions. But it has also occurred because the EU po- 
litical establishment has failed to support EUFOR. For 
example, in March 2011, the EU Political and Security 
Committee (PSC), charged with political control and 
strategic guidance for the mission, 133 simply did not 
respond when told that EUFOR needed three times 
the existing force requirement. 134 EUFOR' s composi- 
tion reflects this lack of political commitment: West 
European countries have already pulled out, leaving 
Austria, Turkey, Hungary, and Bulgaria as the main 
troop contributors. 

Second, after several painful experiences, SFOR 
determined that the best units for dealing with low- 
level violence were paramilitary police or gendarmes 
(which the United States does not have). These units 
specialize in subduing civilian crowds like football 
hooligans and are much better equipped than regu- 
lar soldiers to deal with "rent-a-mobs" that include 
women and children, or with other low-level threats 
encountered in Bosnia. Yet, the EUFOR withdrawals 
included European gendarmerie forces; today only 
some Turkish gendarmes remain in EUFOR. 135 Their 
use against Serb or Croat crowds is probably limited. 

Third, the United States cannot expect to project 
much influence by means of over-the-horizon forces. 
NATO now provides EUFOR such support; yet that 
alone is insufficient to boost EUFOR capabilities. Giv- 
en European "Bosnia fatigue," the inescapable conclu- 
sion is that any new mission would most likely have 
to include U.S. ground troops, of which Army units 
would be the principal component. 


Were U.S. policymakers at some point to contem- 
plate a mission involving U.S. forces, they would need 
to factor in the increased danger from Islamism, par- 
ticularly Islamist terrorism. For much of the 9 years of 
IFOR/SFOR operations in Bosnia, the mujahideen were 
forced into hiding. Izetbegovic protected them, but his 
room for maneuvering was limited both by U.S. policy 
and by widespread pro-Americanism and anti-Wah- 
habism among Bosniaks. 

Nevertheless, IFOR/SFOR enjoyed only limited 
success in combating terrorism — unsurprisingly, as it 
was tasked primarily with maintaining a safe and se- 
cure environment. The list of high-profile internation- 
al plots hatched during and after SFOR's tenure (see 
Box 1) shows the difficulty a military force with only 
limited counterterrorist capabilities has in deterring 
such activity, especially when local officials shield the 
terrorists from outside pressure. 

Today's NATO presence is no better equipped to 
deal with a terrorist threat. Counterterrorism is not 
even among the top three missions of the current 
NATO headquarters in Sarajevo. 136 Nor would prepar- 
ing Bosnia for NATO membership help, as the acces- 
sion requirements revolve primarily around issues of 
democratic legitimacy and defense-sector capabilities. 

In addition, Islamist anti-Americanism has now 
had a chance to put down roots. How deep those roots 
are is hard to determine, but the possibility of jihad- 
ist violence against U.S. or Western troops is probably 
greater than it was previously. Some terrorists would 
likely be homegrown and able to blend more easily 
into the native population. Any new mission would 
have to factor this enhanced threat into its planning. 

Shortly before the Dayton Peace Accords and the 
start of IFOR, General Charles G. Boyd, USAF (Ret.), 


former deputy commander of the European Com- 
mand, argued that the United States should give equal 
weight to the fears and aspirations of Serbs as well as 
to those of Muslims and Croats. He further argued 
that military action alone would not bring about a last- 
ing peace . 137 Eighteen years later, his analysis remains 
relevant. Political disputes are at the base of Bosnia's 
problems, some of which reflect the destabilizing and 
deleterious impact of Islamism. Without a policy that 
addresses such problems, no military mission is likely 
to succeed. 

Accelerated NATO Membership. 

Balkan expert Edward P. Joseph wants the United 
States to refocus on achieving Bosnian membership in 
NATO rather than the EU, as it is more obtainable. He 
predicts that accelerated NATO membership would 
transform the political climate in Bosnia, ending any 
debate over changes to its territorial integrity . 138 In a 
similar vein, military expert Steven Oluic writes that 
"Bosnia's ability to resist extremism and radical Islam 
depends on continued Western engagement in the 
region and the recent phenomena of moderate Bos- 
niaks challenging the radical Islamists and their ide- 
ologies ." 139 Unfortunately, if the West pushes Bosnian 
Serbs to transfer military facilities to the central state 
without acknowledging or countering their concerns 
about Islamism or Muslim dominance, this move is 
unlikely to succeed and may only increase opposition 
to NATO. 

Bosnia's eventual NATO membership would raise 
other issues, not only because part of the Bosniak po- 
litical elite has ties to Islamist groups like the Muslim 
Brotherhood, but also because Bosnia is openly culti- 


vating closer ties with Iran at a time when the Western 
world is united in applying sanctions to that country. 
It is also difficult to predict how Bosnia and other 
Balkan countries with large Muslim populations and 
growing Islamist influence will react to future NATO 
crisis operations in Muslim countries. 


This monograph has laid out in detail arguments 
against a new military mission in Bosnia. Neverthe- 
less, should U.S. policymakers consider the possibil- 
ity, the OSD and the JCS should point out the fact that 
such a mission is unlikely to solve Bosnia's political 
problems or expedite NATO/EU membership but 
would instead face serious difficulties. Their analysis 
could draw on the extensive experience acquired by 
the U.S. Army during 9 years of IFOR/SFOR deploy- 
ment in the country, as well as on the expertise gained 
by participation in the NATO headquarters unit 
in Sarajevo. 

The analysis could include: 

• The reasons a military mission would be un- 
likely to advance Bosnia's accession to NATO. 
In particular, NATO could hurt the process by 
putting pressure on the Bosnian Serbs to give 
more power to a central state they fear will be 
dominated by Muslims. 

• A reminder that IFOR/SFOR and NATO suc- 
cess in unifying the armies of the three ethnic 
groups and in creating a central ministry of 
defense occurred in a sector where they had ex- 
pertise and exercised authority. A new military 
mission would be unlikely to repeat that suc- 
cess in nonmilitary sectors. 


• The difficult experience of our European Allies 
under the EUFOR and their decision to disen- 
gage from Bosnia make it unlikely that they 
would be willing to provide troops for a new 

• The threat of low-level violence and the limited 
ability of U.S. military troops to combat it make 
European gendarme forces critical. Yet, those 
troops are unlikely to be available. 

• Security-related developments in the country 
have deteriorated since SFOR's departure. An- 
ti-Americanism has grown as poorer Bosnians 
are radicalized by Wahhabis or other Islamist 
groups, while homegrown Bosnian terrorists 
as well as former mujahideen may threaten U.S. 
personnel or facilities. 

With regard to the expedited entry of Bosnia into 
NATO, OSD and JCS should ensure that policymak- 
ers focus on broader political issues that to date have 
received insufficient attention, particularly: 

• The danger of pushing for a central state that 
Bosnian Serbs will never accept if they see it as 
a vehicle to reduce them to the status of second- 
class citizens in a Muslim-dominated state. 

• The danger of sharing classified information 
and decisionmaking with Bosnian politicians 
and representatives with ties to the Muslim 
Brotherhood and Iran. 

To prepare for such a debate, the U.S. Euro- 
pean Command (EUCOM) and U.S. Army Europe 
(USAREUR) may wish to retrieve any available in- 
house expertise and institutional memory on Bosnia, 
particularly among those who have served or are serv- 


ing in those commands, as well as those who served 
on OSD's Balkans Task Force. 

Unfortunately, the U.S. military presence in Eu- 
rope is a shadow of what it was during the IFOR/ 
SFOR mission, and many such individuals have dis- 
persed or been engaged for years in missions in Iraq, 
Afghanistan, or elsewhere. However, civilian analysts 
and political advisers, including individuals who 
served in the NATO headquarters in Sarajevo, may 
have valuable in-country experience to contribute. In 
addition, consulting present and past EUFOR partici- 
pants could prove useful. 


1. Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, and Slovenia have 
joined NATO, while Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Monte- 
negro, and Serbia are members of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership 
Council. Of these, only Serbia has not indicated a desire to join 
NATO. Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, and Slovenia have joined the 
EU, and Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia have been accept- 
ed as candidates. Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina are potential 

2. The United States "remainfs] committed to the Dayton 
principles of one sovereign and functional Bosnia and Herzegovi- 
na comprised of two vibrant entities and Brcko District and based 
on the equality of three constituent peoples and others." See Sara- 
jevo. 30703.html. 

3. Lana Pasic, "Sources of Energy in Bosnia and Herzegov- 
ina, and Implications for Energy Security,", 
May 9, 2011. 

4. Boris Divjak and Michael Pugh, "The Political Economy of 
Corruption in Bosnia and Herzegovina," International Peacekeep- 
ing, Vol. 15, No. 3, June 2008, pp. 373-386. 


5. "Improving Opportunities for Young People in Bosnia Her- 
zegovina," World Bank website, February 14, 2013. 

6. "Ante Markovic's testimony," Novi List, October 24, 2003. 

7. Ajdin Kamber, "Segregated Bosnian Schools Reinforce Eth- 
nic Division," Institute for War & Peace Reporting, May 3, 2011. 

8. Morton Abramowitz and James Hooper, "The Death of the 
Bosnian State," The National Interest, July 20, 2011. The next cen- 
sus was held in October 2013. The State Department's 2012 report 
on religious freedom cites a higher number, 15 percent, based on 
information from Bosnian statistical authorities. See 
local_link/247588/3 5781 3 _en.html. 

9. "Focus on Bosnia Herzegovina," Gallup Balkan Monitor, 
GMB Focus on #04, November 2010. 

10. Anes Alic and Vildana Skocajic, "Understanding Bosnia, 
Part One," ISN Security Watch, February 26, 2009. 

11. "Public Opinion Poll, Bosnia and Herzegovina, BiH, Au- 
gust 2010," Washington, DC: National Democratic Institute, p. 5. 

12. "Independent Evaluation of the National Youth Policy in 
Bosnia-Herzegovina," UN, Sarajevo, April 29, 2005. 

13. Index Mundi puts Bosnia's estimated 2012 total fertility 
rate at 1.24 children born to each woman of childbearing age; a 
rate of 2.1 is required to maintain a population. See www.index- 
mundi. com/hosnia_and_herzegovina/demographics _profile. html. 

14. See The Failed States Index 2013, available from ffr.statesin- 

15. "NATO's Relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina," 
NATO website, available from 

16. Steven Woehrel, "Bosnia and Herzegovina: Current Is- 
sues and U.S. Policy," Congressional Research Service, (CRS) Report 
R40479, Washington, DC: CRS, January 24, 2013. 


17. "Bosnia and Herzegovina 2012 Progress Report," Europe- 
an Commission SWD (2012) 335 Final, Brussels, Belgium, October 
10, 2012, pp. 4-5. 

18. "Bosnia's Human Rights Record Hinders EU talks.", May 24, 2013. 

19. See, for example, the European Commission's belabored 
analysis: "[a] shared vision among the political representatives on 
the overall direction and future of the country and its institutional 
set-up for the qualitative step forward on the country's EU path 
remain absent." Quoted in "Commission Proposes Candidate 
Statue for Albania,", October 11, 2012. 

20. Christopher Deliso, The Coming Balkan Caliphate: The Threat 
of Radical Islam to Europe and the West, Westport, CT: Praeger Secu- 
rity International, 2007, p. 8. 

21. Evan Kohlmann, Al-Qaida's Jihad in Europe: The Afghan- 
Bosnian Network, Oxford, UK: Berg, 2004, pp. xii-xiii. 

22. John R. Schindler, Unholy Terror: Bosnia, Al-Qa'ida, and the 
Rise of Global Jihad, St. Paul, MN: Zenith Press, 2007, pp. 295-309. 

23. Kohlmann, Al-Qaida's Jihad in Europe, pp. 224-225. 

24. Suzana Mijatovic, "Tajna Diplomatska Ofanziva Iranaca u 
BiH," Slobodna Bosna, October 25, 2012. 

25. Christopher Deliso, "Israeli Security Concerns and the 
Balkans,", March 31, 2013, p. 14. 

26. Woehrel, "Bosnia and Herzegovina." 

27. "Country Reports on Terrorism," Washington, DC: US 
Department of State, May 20, 2013; and "EU Terrorism Situation 
and Trend Report, Te-Sat," European Police Agency, 2013. 

28. Quoted in Vlado Azinovic, Kurt Bassuener, and Bodo 
Weber, "Assessing the Potential for Renewed Ethnic Violence in 
Bosnia and Herzegovina: A Security Risk Analysis," Berlin, Ger- 
many: Atlantic Initiative and Democratization Policy Council, 
October 2011, p. 69. 


29. Azinovic, Bassuener, and Weber, "A Security Risk 
Analysis," pp. 65-66. 

30. Quoted in Vildana Skocajic and Anes Alic, "Understand- 
ing Bosnia, Part Four," ISN Security Watch, March 12, 2009. 

31. Anes Alic, "Wahhabism: from Vienna to Bosnia," ISN, 
April 6, 2007. 

32. Robert Coalson and Maja Nikolic, "Radical Islamists Seek 
to Exploit Frustration in Bosnia," RFE/RL, March 1, 2013. 

33. Walter Mayr, "Islamists Gain Ground in Sarajevo," Is- 
lamist Watch, February 25, 2009. 

34. Skocajic and Alic, "Understanding Bosnia, Part Four." 

35. Ibid. 

36. Sylvia Poggioli, "Radical Islam Uses Balkan Poor To Wield 
Influence," NPR, October 25, 2010. 

37. See Steven Oluic, "Radical Islam on Europe's Frontier — 
Bosnia & Herzegovina," National Security and the Future, Vol. 1-2, 
No. 9, 2008, p. 42; and Ioannis Michaletos, "An Outlook of Radical 
Islamism in Bosnia." Pakistan Christian Post, July 2, 2012. 

38. "Saudis Tied to Domineering Wahabi Presence in Bosnia,", March 27, 2007. 

39. Nenad Pejic, "Wahhabist Militancy in Bosnia Profits from 
Local and International Inaction," The Jamestown Foundation, 
Terrorism Monitor, Vol. 9, Issue 42, November 17, 2011. 

40. Schwartz, "Bosnia Re-arrests Top Wahhabi Plotter." 

41. Juan Carlos Antunez Moreno, Foreign Influences in Islam in 
Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1995, The Islam in South East Europe 
Forum (ISEEF), Sarajevo, Bosnia, 2010. 


42. "Vast Majority of Bosnian Federation TV Viewers See 
Wahhabism as a Threat," BBC, December 10, 2006. 

43. Quoted in Stephen Schwartz, "Bosnia Cracks Down on 
Wahhabism," The Weekly Standard, February 18, 2010. 

44. Quoted in Boris Kanzleiter, "Wahhabi Rules: Extremism 
Comes to Bosnia," World Politics Review, May 2, 2007. 

45. See official Izetbegovic biography, available from,l,l . 

46. Deliso, The Coming Balkan Caliphate, p. 7. 

47. Soldo, "Muslim Politician Says Bosnian Al-Qa'idah Can 
'Destabilize Europe'," Vecernij list, December 11, 2007, translated 
by BBC Monitoring International Reports, December 14, 2007. 

48. S. Dusanic, "Bakir Izetbegovic Gave Land to Saudi Com- 
mittee as Present," Glas Srpske, May 29, 2008, translated by BBC 
Montoring Europe, Political, May 29, 2008. 

49. Walter Mayr, "The Prophet's Fifth Column: Islamists Gain 
Ground in Sarajevo," Der Spiegel, February 25, 2009. 

50. Berina Mulabegovic, "Who is Bakir Izetbegovic?" Globalia 
Magazine, May 12, 2010. 

51. "Bosna Bank International Holds Annual Board Meeting 
in Dubai," available from, December 19, 2012. 
BBI shareholders include the Islamic Development Bank, the 
Dubai Islamic Bank, and the Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank. 

52. Timur Kuran, Islam and Mammon: The Economic Pre- 
dicaments of Islamism, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 
2004, p. 6. 

53. The two signed several memoranda of understanding on 
economic cooperation in 2010. The following year saw strength- 
ened scientific and research ties between Iran and Bosnian uni- 
versities, while in 2012, they pledged to expand economic ties. 
See "Iran, Bosnia Sign MoUs on Economic Cooperation," Fars 
News Agency, May 1, 2010; "Iran, Bosnia Universities to Strength- 


en Scientific, Research Ties," IRNA, December 3, 2011; and "Iran, 
Bosnia Urge Enhancement of Bilateral Relations," PressTV, April 
10 , 2012 . 

54. "Izetbegovic Meets Ahmadinejad in Cairo," BiH Dayton 
Project, February 8, 2013, available from www.bihdaytonproject. 

55. Mijatovic, "Tajna Diplomska Ofanziva Iranaca u BiH," 
Slobodna Bosna, October 25, 2012. 

56. Radoncic was originally close to Alija Izetbegovic. He has 
used nationalist rhetoric and donations to the Islamic Community 
to advance his political career. See "Bosnia — Good Bosniaks, Bad 
Bosniaks, Good Muslims, Bad Muslims," State Department cable 
Sarajevo 103, January 27, 2009, provided courtesy of Wikileaks. 

57. The report of Izetbegovic's involvement appeared in an 
investigation by the Bosnian Serb newspaper, Glas Srbske, accord- 
ing to Benjamin Weinthal, "Bosnia Tells Iranian Spies to Leave 
to No Avail," The Jerusalem Post, May 9, 2013. Also see Benjamin 
Weinthal, "Bosnia Expels Two Iranian Diplomats," The Jerusalem 
Post, April 28, 2013; and Weinthal, "Bosnia Expels Alleged Iranian 
Spies," The Jerusalem Post, May 19, 2013. 

58. "Bosnia Expels Third Iranian Diplomat," Iran Daily Brief, 
June 28, 2013, available from www.irandailybrief com/20 13/06/28/ 

59. Mijatovic, "Tajna Diplomska Ofanziva Iranaca u BiH." 

60. Oluic, "Radical Islam on Europe's Frontier," p. 46. 

61. Schindler, Unholy Terror, p. 200. 

62. "Haris Silajdzic: The Unexposed Zealot," Toronto, On- 
tario, Canada: The Centre for Peace in the Balkans, October 2002. 

63. Oluic, "Radical Islam on Europe's Frontier," p. 47. 

64. Soldo, "Muslim Politician Says Bosnian Al-Qa'idah Can 
'Destabilize Europe'," Vecernij list, December 11, 2007, translated 
by BBC Monitoring International Reports, December 14, 2007. 


65. For example, Cornell University stated that "Silajdzic to- 
day represents the forces for an integrated, secular and multina- 
tional Bosnia. He continues to demand the right of return of refu- 
gees and displaced persons and is a proponent of multiethnicity, 
political pluralism and parliamentary democracy in the country." 

66. "Obituary: Alija Izetbegovic," BBC News, October 19, 2003. 

67. Alija Izetbegovic, The Islamic Declaration: A Programme 
for the Islamization of Muslims and the Muslim People, Sarajevo, 
Bosnia, 1990. 

68. "Verdict of the Federal Court," Kps — 108 / 84, available from 
/islamska%20deklaracija/VERDICT _OF _THE_FEDERAL_ 

69. The Declaration was actually reissued not by Izetbegovic, 
but by a Serbian company owned by notorious Bosnian Serb lead- 
er, Vojislav Seselj. See Schindler, Unholy Terror, p. 63. 

70. Schindler, Unholy Terror, p. 200. 

71. See "Karadzic Talks Izetbegovic in Cross-Examination,", April 26, 2010; and Rachel Erwin, "Bosnian 
Serb Leader Says Karadzic Was Peacemaker," Washington, DC: 
Institute for War and Peace Reporting, April 12, 2013. 

72. See Schindler, Unholy Terror, pp. 32-45. The actual indict- 
ment does not name Iran. See "Verdict of the Federal Court." 

73. Schindler, Unholy Terror, p. 54. See also "Bosnian Threat- 
ens Poison Gas Against Serb Forces," The New York Times, October 
31, 1992. 

74. Ibid. p. 52. 

75. See the obituary by Enes Karic, "Alija Izetbegovic, Presi- 
dent of Bosnia," Sarajevo, Bosnia, available from www.muslim-law- ?aktion=show&number=243 . 


76. "Alija Izetbegovic: His Background and Philosophies," 
London, UK: Balkan Research Centre, December 1992. 

77. J. Millard Burr and Robert O. Collins, Alms for Jihad: 
Charity and Terrorism in the Islamic World, Cambridge, MA: Cam- 
bridge University Press, 2006, pp. 140-143. 

78. Schindler, Unholy Terror, p. 52. 

79. In this first trial, Izetbegovic was convicted of terrorist ac- 
tivities related to the Young Muslims. 

80. Schindler, Unholy Terror, pp. 107-108. 

81. "Bosnia Fire Official with Ties to Iran," Los Angeles Times, 
November 20, 1996. 

82. Nidzara Ahmetasevic, Adnan Butorovic, and Mirsad 
Fazlic, "Fishers of Children's Souls: Third Offensive of Young 
Muslims," Slobodna Bosna, January 30, 2003, English translation, 
May 10, 2004. 

83. See testimony by Eve- Ann Prentice at the Milosevic trial at 
the ICTY, available from ?v=IUDznadBOZU. 

84. Schindler, Unholy Terror, p. 254. 

85. Ibid., pp. 263-266. See also Azinovic, Bassuener, and We- 
ber, "A Security Risk Analysis," p. 65; and Ivo Lucic, "Bosnia and 
Herzegovina and Terrorism," National Security and the Future, Vol. 
2, No. 3-4, Autumn/ Winter 2001. 

86. Azinovic, Bassuener, and Weber, "A Security Risk Analy- 
sis," p. 65. 

87. Quoted in Schindler, Unholy Terror, p. 263, sourced to an 
article in Slobodna Bosna, September 13, 2001. "Salam" is a greet- 
ing, while "tekbir" means the phrase "Allahu akbar." 

88. Mike O'Connor, "Spies for Iranians Are Said to Gain a 
Hold in Bosnia," The New York Times, November 28, 1997. 


89. He reportedly said that the Bosniak secret police "had 
been infected by al-Qa-ida . . . there was virtually a cell of that 
organization there." See quote in Schindler, Unholy Terror, p. 240. 

90. Ena Latin, "Sarajevo Trial May Lift Lid on Assassina- 
tions," Washington, DC: Institute for War and Peace Reporting, 
May 22, 2002; and "Ex-Bosnian Officials Arrested for Terrorism 
and Espionage Walk Free," AFP, October 1, 2002. 

91. See OHR decision, available from 
removalssdec/dej ault. asp? content _id=28446. Ashdown fired him for 
failure to handle intelligence information properly. 

92. Nenad Pejic, "Wahhabist Militancy in Bosnia Profits from 
Local and International Inaction," The Jamestown Foundation 
Terrorism Monitor, Vol. 9, Issue 42, November 17, 2011. 

93. Quoted in Stefano Giantin, "A Bosnian Plea: 'Italians, 
Don't Give Peace Prize to Ceric,", February 
27, 2012. 

94. "Grand Mufti Ceric Awarded Italian Foundation Peace 
Prize," The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report, March 26, 2012. 

95. See text of "A Declaration of European Muslims," avail- 
able from 

96. "Bosnian Grand Mufti Says Islamic Law Compatible With Con- 
stitution, Will Visit Iran," Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report, 
June 8, 2009. 

97. Kenneth Morrison, "Wahhabism in the Balkans," Balkan 
Series 08/06, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK: Defence Academy of the 
United Kingdom, Advanced Research and Assessment Group, 
February 2008, p. 9. 

98. Patrick Moore, "Leader of Bosnia's Islamic Community 
Speaks Out," RFE/RL, April 23, 2004. 

99. "Bosnia — Rising toward Trouble," Embassy Sarajevo, 
Bosnia, February 16, 2009, provided courtesy of Wikileaks. 


100. See, for example, "The Second Report on Islamophobia, 
January — December 2011," Islamic Community of Bosnia and 
Herzegovina, Sarajevo, March 2012. 

101. "Bosnians Elect New Grand Mufti; Mustafa Ceric Re- 
placed After 19 Years," The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report, 
September 25, 2012. 

102. "Bosnia's Dangerous Tango: Islam and Nationalism," 
Brussels, Belgium: International Crisis Group, February 26, 
2013, p. 1. 

103. Quoted in Soldo, "Muslim Politician." 

104. Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, Reliance of the Traveller: A 
Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, Beltsville, MD: Amana pub- 
lications, 1994, 0.25.3, p. 640. Exceptions to this rule occurred in 
Islamic empires, but the individuals who occupied such positions 
were always vulnerable to attack. 

105. Ibid., pp. 607-609. 

106. Aleksa Djilas, "The Nation that Wasn't," Nader Mousav- 
izadeh, ed., The Black Book of Bosnia, New York: HarperCollins 
Publishers 1996, p. 25. 

107. Alija Izetbegovic, The Islamic Declaration: A Programme 
for the Islamization of Muslims and the Muslim Peoples, Sarajevo, 
Bosnia, 1990. 

108. Available from EUFOR website, In 
fact, Turkey has offered to make up shortfalls in EUFOR staffing 
but had been rebuffed by the EU, apparently for fear that EUFOR 
would effectively become a "TurkFor." See Azinovic, Bassuener, 
and Weber, "A Security Risk Analysis," p. 72. 

109. Anes Alic, "Turkey's Growing Influence in the Balkans,", June 9, 2010. 

110. Dusan Stojanovic, "Turkey Uses Economic Clout to Gain 
Balkan Foothold," The Seattle Times, March 13, 2011. 


111. This nostalgia, shared by the Muslim Brotherhood, found 
its way into Izetbegovic's Declaration, in which he mourned the 
replacement of the Ottoman Empire by a secular Turkish regime 
whose new generation "had lost the remembrance of its past." See 
Izetbegovic, Islamic Declaration, p. 14. 

112. Esad Hecimovic, "Sta Turska hoce na Balkanu?" Dani, 
October 23, 2009. See English translation of excerpts at grayfalcon. 

113. John Eibner, "Turkey's Christians Under Siege," Middle 
East Quarterly, Vol. 18, No. 2, Spring 2011. 

114. "What Lies Beneath Ankara's New Foreign Policy," State 
Department cable Ankara 87, November 29, 2010, provided cour- 
tesy of Wikileaks. 

115. Patrick Goodenough, "OIC Fulfills Function of Caliph- 
ate, Embodies 'Islamic Solidarity/ Says OIC Chief," CNS News, 
May 10, 2010. 

116. Kenan Efendic, "OIC Invites Bosnia to Become Full Mem- 
ber," Balkan Insight, April 16, 2013. 

117. Available from 

118. "Turkey Trying to Keep Its Influence in Bosnia," State 
Department cable Ankara 1651, November 17, 2009, provided 
courtesy of Wikileaks. 

119. Azinovic, Bassuener, and Weber, "A Security Risk 
Analysis," pp. 31-34. 

120. Ibid., p. 33. 

121. Ibid., p. 34., italics in original. 

122. See OSA website, available from 


123. Azinovic, Bassuener, and Weber, "A Security Risk Anal- 
ysis," p. 44. 

124. Ibid., pp. 39-52. 

125. Mark Lowen, "Major Criminal Flees Bosnia Jail," BBC, 
July 29, 2009. Abu Hamza, a former member of Egyptian Gama'a 
al-Islamiyya, first arrived in Bosnia in 1992. See Anes Alic, "The 
Ringleaders of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Wahhabi Movement," 
The Jamestown Foundation Terrorism Focus, Vol. 4, Issue 6, March 
23, 2007. 

126. Azinovic, Basseuner, and Weber, "A Security Risk 
Analysis," pp. 4-8. 

127. Ratka Babic, "Bosnia Serbs Will Call Referendum on 
NATO," Balkan Insight, February 12, 2013. 

128. Stefan J. Bos, "Report: 'Christians Flee Bosnia Amid Dis- 
crimination, Islamization," BosNewsLife, October 12, 2012. 

129. "Bosnia and Herzegovina 2012 Progress Report," p. 17. 

130. Janusz Bugajski, Return of the Balkans: Challenges to Eu- 
ropean Integration and U.S. Disengagement, Carlisle, PA: Strategic 
Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, May 2013, pp. 156-158. 

131. EUFOR Fact Sheet, available from . 
php?option=com_content&view=article&id= 1 5 &Itemid= 1 34 . 

132. Azinovic, Bassuener, and Weber, "A Security Risk 
Analysis," p. 72. 

133. See European Union External Action website, available 

134. Azinovic, Bassuener, and Weber, "A Security Risk 
Analysis," p. 72. 

135. Ibid. 


136. The top three missions are: assisting Bosnian authori- 
ties with reforms and commitments related to the Partnership for 
Peace and closer integration with NATO; providing logistic and 
other support to EUFOR; and supporting ICTY on a case-by-case 
basis. See "NATO's Relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina," 
available from 

137. Charles G. Boyd, "Making Peace with the Guilty: The 
Truth about Bosnia," Foreign Affairs, Vol. 74, No. 50, September/ 
October 1995, pp. 22-38. 

138. Edward P. Joseph, "Bosnia-Herzegovina," The Western 
Balkans Policy Review 2010, Washington, DC: Center for Strategic 
and International Studies, pp. 63-64. 

139. Oluic, "Radical Islam on Europe's Frontier," p. 48. 



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